Let’s Shop Small

Leave the national chain stores and cardboard boxes behind this holiday season and support local with this trek along Route 114

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In celebration of Small Business Saturday, we encourage spending your dollars at locally owned enterprises throughout the state. For this special issue, we’re taking a tour of good ol’ Route 114, which begins all the way in Woonsocket but for our purposes, we’re zooming in on the stretch from Barrington to Newport. Our editorial team has picked out some of the many highlights to whet your appetite for shopping and eating, but our hope is that you’ll use this as a starting point for charting your own buy local venture be it 138, 77, and anywhere else the wind blows!

ENTERING BARRINGTON

Leaving Riverside, Route 114 becomes scenic as you enter Barrington, with a sly exit leading to Osamequin Nature Trails and Bird Sanctuary and views of Hundred Acre Cove. Known in these parts as County Road, the route runs through a dappled stretch that’s picture-perfect New England. A plaza of white buildings to your right is home to a Newport Creamery, Blue Kangaroo Cafe – a popular place for deli sammies, soups, smoothies, and more – and former Piccolo Children’s Boutique* for clothing and toys with free gift-wrapping. Seeking goods with a nautical vibe? Check out Coastal 41. Steps away is a trio of dining options: Black Pear, East Bay Oyster Bar, and Miku Sushi. Back on 114, be on the lookout for the aptly named Hidden Gardens, an enchanting garden center perfect for purchasing this year’s wreath. Barrington Shopping Center is a must-stop for Barrington Books – beyond reads, this indie seller has a wide selection of gifts, home goods, records, and toys. 

DETOUR: MAPLE AVENUE

This sleepy town’s busy side street is home to The Book Nerd*, a store front with shelves of hand-picked titles. Take a coffee and cookie break at Vienna Bakery, serving up European pastries, cakes and baked goods since 1923, before heading over to daisy dig’ins, a one-stop shop for gifts and flowers. 

DETOUR: ANOKA AVENUE

Got crafters on your shopping list? Head to Knit One Quilt Too. From Maple, turn left onto Wood Avenue and then right onto Anoka to find everything needed to sew, quilt, knit, and weave. 

DETOUR: BARTON AVENUE

From Route 114, just after crossing the first bridge, turn right onto Barton Avenue to discover Bluewater Bar + Grill. Located in the Tyler Point peninsula, the contemporary seafood restaurant boasts water views and farm-to-table offerings. Pro-tip: get your Thanksgiving holiday catering order in by November 21. 

ENTERING WARREN 

Just over the Warren Bridge, 114 winds into this artsy-meets-historic coastal town’s shopping-filled Main Street. Pull up to the old white church with teal accents that’s actually home to Tatters Handmade Clothing, a haven of upcycled locally made fashion and art, and nearby is Nancy’s Hobby. Once you spy the iconic purple-and-yellow Lyric Theatre that houses Imagine Gift Store, be prepared to spend some time in the largest emporium of its kind in the state, with three floors of fun. Start looking for a parking spot on the main stretch, side streets, or watch for “Municipal Lot” signs for more free parking. Grab a juice or kombucha from Bevvies Bar or sit down for brunch bites at Uptown Food and Spirits or Happy Place Creperie before making your way over to Jim Bush’s Gallery for art depicting regional scenes, Space Cadets Vintage for eclectic antiques and rock-and-roll vibes, Nectar De La Vida to sample fine olive oils and balsamic vinegars, Ink Fish Books to find the perfect literary gifts (pro tip: ask about this year’s Rhody Reader Box), and In Your Ear Records*. Across the street is Savon Shoes (formerly Jamiels), carrying footwear for all styles, and Gob Shop takes custom orders of screen-printed and embroidered apparel. If you’re visiting for the nightlife scene, there’s likely a fabulous act taking the stage at Galactic Theatre, plus dancing, cocktails, and craft beer. Warren House of Pizza has slices for every taste, and even live music select Thursdays.

Warren’s creative streak continues as you meander south toward Town Hall – stopping for a caffeine boost at The Coffee Depot – with 1001 Troubles Tattoo, Don’s Art Shop (offering framing services and restoration as well as supplies), and opportunities to see local art. The Collaborative (see page ## to read about arc{hive}, the bookshop and snackery found inside) is a nonprofit hosting workshops and galleries, with their Small Works show opening December 1. Made in Warren Artist Cooperative is a destination for holiday shopping to find unique works and curios by area makers. More food options include Delekta Pharmacy* for ice cream and cabinets, Federal Hill Pizza, Rhody Roots for lots of gluten-free and vegan options, and La Piñata Mexican Grill + Bar. Keep going past George Hail Library to round your visit off with peeks inside Lucy’s Tailoring Shop, Alfred’s Consignment, and Strawberry Moon, which carries all varieties of metaphysical gifts and walk-in tarot readings. Though Wednesday markets don’t pick back up until spring, you can be sure creative chefs are hard at work developing recipes behind the walls of Hope & Main, the well-known food business incubator inside a historic schoolhouse.

DETOUR: WATER STREET

Minutes after entering Warren, veer over to Water Street for an uncommon mix of artful indie shops and lively dining. Park the car and wander into a variety of businesses that includes The Greenery, a flower and fair trade gift shop; Cerulean, seller of handmade gifts, jewelry, and vintage items; longtime record seller In Your Ear’s second location, and The Peyton Co., purveyor of green bath and body products. Further ahead along with other shops is the studio and showroom of Beehive Handmade* – handcrafted metalsmiths, where you’re sure to find an ornament that is anything but cookie cutter. Within a brief stretch, spirited dining options include The Square Peg, Tay-Vino, Cafe Water Street, Trafford, and Bywater.

ENTERING BRISTOL

The entire course of Route 114 in Bristol is picturesque. From the moment you enter town and notice The Beach House restaurant overlooking the East Bay Bike Path and harbor (make a resy), to the commercial district where the red, white, and blue stripes run down the center of the road, now called Hope Street. Park the car and follow your nose to find everything from coffee to oysters to pizza. Take in window displays at stores like Caron Jewelers*, and keep going, stopping along the way to reach Kate & Co. – a sparkling shop filled with something for everyone on your list. There’s also Epilogues, an area go-to for art and decor finds. Hope soon turns to Ferry Road and before leaving town there’s The Lobster Pot, a fabulous restaurant serving up seafood since 1929. Things get a little woodsy before passing Roger Williams University and then crossing the Mount Hope Bridge into Portsmouth (raise your hand if you still have bridge tokens, used until 1998).

DETOUR: FRANKLIN STREET

From 114, turn on Franklin Street for Grasmere*, a shop filled with floral arrangements, regional art, textiles, and more, just steps away from the always-buzzing Beehive Cafe where you can sit and enjoy a meal or simply fuel up for more spending with a yummy baked good.

DETOUR: WOOD STREET

From 114, turn on State and then Wood Street to discover all the new businesses at the Wood Street Building. Look for the large smoke stack and follow signs for everything from Pivotal Brewing Company, to plant-based restaurant Basil and Bunny, and French-inspired decor at Blanc + Bleu.

ENTERING PORTSMOUTH

Take a pit stop in Portsmouth – where route 114 goes by West Main Road – to recharge and relax at Ragged Island Brewing Co., which sits on sprawling acres of land with a spacious taproom inside for cozy sipping. Past Portsmouth Abbey and Green Animals Topiary Garden (reopens in the spring), take in views of stretches of quaint New England stone walls. Portsmouth Publick House is a famed destination for oysters, brews, and fall cocktails. For a quick cuppa before jumping back into the action, Kaffeology is a peaceful retreat with a lush leafy mural inside presiding over your coffee and acai bowl break, or nearby Cindy’s Country Cafe is another mainstay with diner fare and pancakes (gingerbread, anyone?). West Main Pizza is your best bet for a pie to go, or belly up to the bar for apps, wraps, and more. Once you’re recharged, motor over to the Newport Car Museum gift shop for souvenirs and collectibles for all ages. Swing by New England Homemade Donuts and Marco’s Subs (refuel at the Patriot Petroleum while you’re there) for grab-and-go bites, or experience a cozy sit-down meal at the Valley Inn Restaurant, a true locals’ spot. 

DETOUR: CLOCK TOWER SQUARE 

Turn off 114 when you reach Portsmouth Publick House to peruse Clock Tower Square shops including Deborah Winthrop Lingerie for intimates and Stalise for women’s clothing.

DETOUR: Zip over to Route 138, AKA East Main Road, which runs parallel to 114 through Portsmouth for holiday shopping at spots like The Portsmouth Shop for selfcare goods and stylish accessories, Cory Farms Past & Presents* to peruse home decor and apparel, Sew Nice Fabrics* to shop for the stitchers in your life, and Island Books – an Aquidneck Island fave. The family-friendly Foodworks Restaurant and Fieldstones can be found on this stretch, as well as other dining options. 

ENTERING MIDDLETOWN

A plethora of chain stores line route 114 in Middletown but if you keep an eagle-eye, you’ll spy locally owned businesses that offer thoughtful gifts. Video Game Remedy is a must-stop for the gaming geeks on your list with a wide selection of trading cards, collectibles, and even retro games and consoles. Before continuing on your 114 quest, fill up on comfort food like kicked-up pancakes served all day or a Greek diner-style chicken or beef gyro plate at the Blue Plate Diner. Or, dig into some tacos and chimichangas at Tito’s Cantina (don’t miss the fresh salsa). For those who don’t want to break shopping momentum, Plant City X offers on-the-go plant-based options. Our route ends at the intersection of East Main and West Main roads, turning into 138, so make your last stop in Middletown a yummy one at Ma’s Donuts. Fuel up with a malasada and cup of coffee before hitting Broadway in Newport.

ENTERING NEWPORT

Broadway’s a long one, and while there are a smattering of shops just over the Middletown line, lower Broadway is where the locals shop. Find street parking near Gould Street, climb out, stretch your legs, and get ready to buy. After the closure of the Armory on Thames Street, this part of Broadway has turned into a mini antiques alley, chock full of gifting options for the vintage lovers on your list. Newport Marketplace & Antiques overflows with finds from 40 different vendors. The Leeside Antiques & Gifts curates home decor and nautical gifts, and Closet Revival is tops for eclectic fashions that your trend-forward niece will adore. Get fortified with some fresh seafood and a craft cocktail at the newly opened Cabana before hitting Charter Books to cross off the bookworms on your list (don’t miss the lower level). Pop into Broadway mainstay The Hungry Monkey Cafe for rib-sticking breakfast or lunch options before heading to Vinyl Guru Record Shop. Save a little room to sample the snacks at Bellevue Boards, which offers a great selection of all things charcuterie for the foodie in your fam. Before wrapping up your Broadway sojourn, pour one out at Pour Judgement and celebrate the end of your 2022 holiday shopping.

DETOUR: BELLEVUE AVENUE

For folks on your nice list who are a little more Gilded Age, follow Broadway (or Route 138 to Memorial Boulevard) to Bellevue Avenue. This tony area anchored by the International Tennis Hall of Fame boasts many places to eat, drink, and be stylish. Find apparel for a range of tastes at places like CK Bradley, Michael Hayes Co., Charlotte Kellogg, and Gingy’s, and enjoy browsing cheerful home goods and art curated by the owner/painter herself at Kristin Coates. For dining, there’s everything from splurges at La Forge Casino Restaurant or One Bellevue (tucked inside the Viking Hotel), to an affordable classic all-day breakfast at Annie’s, or grab scrumptious baked goods, sammies, and soft drinks at Picnic Cafe.

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